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Tuning options for a 9 string bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BIG CHEETO, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. I'm curious to see how some of you guys would consider tuning a 9 string bass.

    I'm getting my new custom 9 string Bee Bass soon, and am thinking about tuning it from low B all the way up in standard fourths. Can someone tell me what the tuning would be from low B all the way through to the 9th string? Thanx in advance!

    I like the idea of having a higher range on my strings. Ive dabbled with the low F before and its its fun to mess with, but i think id'e get more use out of higher strings rather than lower ones.
  2. WaskoDS


    Nov 22, 2009
    Allentown, PA
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i would definitely have the low F# on the bass, but that's just me.

    i like the tuning with the highest two strings to be a half step flat, like a guitar, so i'd tune 9, if i had one, f#-b-e-a-d-g-c-e-a

    (edit jt : corrected tuning).

    Tune it like you would a guitar.
  5. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Aren't the two higest strings a whole step flat that way?

    Shouldn't standard be F#-B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bflat, making the "guitar style" tuning, F#-B-E-A-D-G-C-E-A, I would think?
  6. Wow! Nine strings?

    Six more strings and it's be a zither.

    I saw a seven and a six at GC yesterday and they were like trying to play an ironing board to me.

    I cannot say that I would want one, but I'd pay a buck to see someone else play it.

    Isn't it confusing?

    Who makes pups for something like that or do they use a five and a four coil?
  7. Cool beans, I'm definitely going to experiment with various tunings to see what feels best. Ive always wanted the low F, but i got to mess with it a lil more to get used to it.
  8. Here is a suggestion, tune the high strings in 5th and octaves from the lower strings, like a guitar does on the B-E strings.

    You get octaves and 5th with the open strings. One Major 3rd is needed between the fourths.

    You could put the 3rd somewhere else..



    Or you can set up a 5th in the bottom for some strong drones.

  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, you're right heh. i'm so used to my 7's and 8's being b-e at the top, that in my mind i dropped em further. i caught it on the c (originally had b-eflat-aflat) but i didnt catch it on the other two heh.
  10. TheBasicBassist


    Jan 8, 2009
    Newark, DE
    Endorsing Artist: Rosado Guitars
    The guitar-style tuning would be: F#-B-E-A-D-G-B-E-A, as the second string from the top is tuned a half-step flat. Your standard tuning is correct, if your using the standard perfect 4th method.
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    that's the tuning that a lot of erg players use, but to get the same chord shapes as a standard guitar i would use only the top two being tuned a half step down - f#-b-e-a-d-g-c-e-a. one of my 7's is tuned e-a-d-g-c-e-a and that works pretty well.
  12. Yes sir! :bassist: Nine strings. I've been playing seven string basses for about 8 years now, and a couple more strings these days for me would be more than welcome.

    I had to get my pups custom wound by Delano Pickups I'm getting a triple set of hum canceling jazz pups. Brady Muckelroy came up with the setup for the Delano Tripple Jazz Pup and electronics that are going into my bass.

    Heres a pick of my bass as of today.
  13. Un-believable.

    May I ask what the reason is for all the other strings besides the obvious, I mean.

    Do you use them for filling in for a guitar or do you just go solo with it a lot and have all that extra board acreage to get to chords?

    I really am intrigued. Can you point me to any YouTube 9-string vids?

    Do you transpose scales further up in pitch/octave like Hirojoshis or Enigmatic Minors or what? This blows me away - seriously!

    I mean - what do the fretted positions look like?
  14. heres a lil clip.

    tunned in all fourths

  15. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    That neck looks like someone took an ironing board, threw some rosewood on it, and called it a day. I would go with either B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bb-Eb (4ths), B-E-A-D-G-B-E-A-D (Guitar), or, if you feel adventuresome, get it tuned like an orchestral instrument in 5ths, and go B-F#-C#-G#-D#-A#-F-C-G. Whatever tuning you choose, those strings are being custom wound.
  16. Well ----------------------------- ahem!

    I give it a TWO 'cause I find it a little hard to dance to.

    That's incredible though that you can play something that complicated - even tuned in fourths. I couldn't play it if all the strings were tuned the same.

    I recognize talent when I see it, although it's not my style ---again, ahem!

    Congrats on finding a niche and filling it though. Is there much call for music like that?

    I bet you don't gig any weddings or baby showers though.

    All joking aside - that's still very interesting and although from my viewpoint, somewhat strange - but you are obviously very talented.
  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    check out these clips. they're from a guy named jean baudin - he's mostly an 11 stringer. his band gig is a metal band, but this stuff is him solo, totally different and exceedingly beautiful.


    listen especially to "transcend" and "be water my friend" - two of my favorites.
  18. I'm listening to it (Transcend) right now.

    RE: Oddly interesting and kinda ethereal. Lots of loops and reverb.

    OK - so when does a bass become a small harp or a hammerless piano?

    It's not intended as a slight but I feel this isn't really 'bass-playing' at all. It's a whole new instrument.

    I think it shot right past the qualification test for a bass-category about four or five strings ago.

    Still - the music's nice and very relaxing - so far! I also hear lots of chords and harmonics. It's still very good.

    "Be Water, My Friend" is on now. Good stuff.

    Did I say "good" too much? Not really.

    ("Vanishing" playing now.)
  19. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Since when did comparing ERBs to harps and ironing boards fall back in fashion?

    It's not like they suddenly cannot be played like normal basses. I use a 6 to play a lot of music recorded on 4s.

    You can check how Yves Carbone holds down the low end with a 8 - fretless, too - www.youtube.com/watch?v=srzOJ8mmFVI
  20. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    I tune my 9-string F# B E A D G C F Bb - which I find reasonable.

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